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Obama Has Closed CIA’s ‘Secret Prisons’

From a triumphant New York Times:

C.I.A. to Close Secret Prisons for Terror Suspects

By SCOTT SHANE
Published: April 10, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency said Thursday that it would decommission the secret overseas prisons where it subjected Al Qaeda prisoners to brutal interrogation methods, bringing to a symbolic close the most controversial counterterrorism program of the Bush administration.

But in a statement to employees, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, said agency officers who worked in the program “should not be investigated, let alone punished” because the Justice Department under President George W. Bush had declared their actions legal.

Mr. Panetta and other top Obama administration officials have said they believe that waterboarding, the near-drowning method used in 2002 and 2003 on three prisoners, is torture, which is illegal under American and international law. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which interviewed 14 prisoners, said in a report made public this week that prisoners were also repeatedly slammed into walls, forced to stand for days with their arms handcuffed to the ceiling, confined in small boxes and held in frigid cells.

Mr. Panetta said the secret detention facilities were no longer in operation, but he suggested that security and maintenance had been continuing at the sites at the taxpayers’ expense since they were emptied under Mr. Bush in 2006. Terminating security contracts at the sites would save “at least $4 million,” Mr. Panetta said.

The C.I.A. has never revealed the location of its so-called black sites overseas, but intelligence officials, aviation records and news reports have placed them in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Romania and Jordan, among other countries. Agency officials have said that fewer than 100 prisoners have been held since the program was created in 2002, and about 30 were subjected to what the C.I.A. called “enhanced” interrogation techniques.

Mr. Bush transferred the remaining 14 prisoners to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba in 2006 but ordered some sites maintained for future use; only two Qaeda prisoners are known to have been held for several months since then.

In his first week in office, President Obama banned coercive interrogations and ordered the C.I.A. program closed. Mr. Panetta said that the C.I.A. had not detained any terrorism suspects since he took office in February and added that any suspects captured in the future would be quickly turned over to the American military or to a suspect’s home country.

Joanne Mariner, the director of the terrorism and counterterrorism program at Human Rights Watch, said the closing of the C.I.A. prisons was “incredibly heartening and important.” But she said that a criminal investigation of the C.I.A. interrogation program was nonetheless necessary, and she expressed concern that Mr. Panetta had not made clear what evidence the C.I.A. would need to detain a suspect.

Mr. Panetta’s statement, along with a classified letter about interrogation policy that he sent Thursday to the Senate and House intelligence oversight committees, underscored the new administration’s sharp break with policies that Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney often credited with preventing a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

By contrast, President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. insist that the use of techniques they describe as torture betrayed American values, alienated allies and became a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. A task force is now studying what interrogation methods should be permitted and how to ensure that prisoners turned over to other countries will not be mistreated.

In his statement, Mr. Panetta vowed to continue the “global pursuit” of Al Qaeda and its allies but said interrogators would use traditional methods and not physical force.

“C.I.A. officers, whose knowledge of terrorist organizations is second to none, will continue to conduct debriefings using a dialogue style of questioning,” Mr. Panetta wrote. He said C.I.A. officers were required to report abuse, even if it were carried out by a cooperating foreign intelligence service.

Mr. Panetta also said the agency would no longer use contractors to conduct interrogations. Former military psychologists working under contract for the C.I.A. helped devise and conduct the previous harsh interrogations, according to former agency officials. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had proposed legislation barring contractors from conducting interrogations, saying the job was too important to outsource.

The Senate committee recently began an investigation of the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program, and senior Senate and House members have called for a broader and more public “truth commission” to investigate past counterterrorism programs.

Mr. Panetta said that the agency would cooperate with Congressional reviews but said that “fairness and wisdom” should dictate against a criminal investigation or other sanctions.

The C.I.A. statement comes at a time of continuing debate inside the Obama administration over which classified documents related to the agency’s interrogation program should be made public. After several delays, the Justice Department now has until April 16 to decide whether to make public legal opinions justifying the C.I.A.’s harsh methods.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has argued for the release of the opinions and related documents, but some current and former C.I.A. officials say they believe that wholesale disclosures could harm counterterrorism efforts and hurt morale at the agency.

What a typical New York Times article from top to bottom.

It is spun out of laughable fantasies and outright lies. For instance:

Mr. Panetta said the secret detention facilities were no longer in operation, but he suggested that security and maintenance had been continuing at the sites at the taxpayers’ expense since they were emptied under Mr. Bush in 2006. Terminating security contracts at the sites would save “at least $4 million,” Mr. Panetta said…

The C.I.A. has never revealed the location of its so-called black sites overseas, but intelligence officials, aviation records and news reports have placed them in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Romania and Jordan, among other countries.

They were getting “security and maintenance” in all of these “black sites” in all of these countries for a measly $4 million dollars?

Sure, we believe that.

No, the obvious reason for this article is to (once again) whip up the reader’s moral outrage that past CIA “crimes” under the Bush regime will not be prosecuted. Even if they didn’t actually happen.

And we won’t even get into the preposterousness of Mr. Panetta writing about such things in a mass email.

We must hold these people responsible if we ever suffer another terrorist attack because of their dangerous actions.

In fact, some laws should be put into place to that end.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 10th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Obama Has Closed CIA’s ‘Secret Prisons’”

  1. canary says:

    CIA has taken no prisoners since Obama new inexperienced CIA appointed.

    One of the first things the Bush administration did was arrest FBI Robert Mueller, under Clinton. Mueller had been selling all our secrets to Russia. Today, Mueller would have been given an award for working with Russia.

    From the Associated Press:

    CIA fires contractors guarding secret prisons

    WASHINGTON – CIA Director Leon Panetta has told Congress the spy agency has taken no new prisoners since he became director in February.

    He also says the CIA has terminated contracts with private companies that provided security at secret overseas CIA prisons. That will save up to $4 million.

    Panetta told agency employees in an e-mail Thursday that the secret prisons are no longer used and the CIA is making plans to permanently shutter them.

    But the CIA can still hold prisoners temporarily. Panetta says if more prisoners are taken, they will be interrogated by agency employees and handed over quickly to their home country or a country with a legal claim.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090409/ap_on_go_ot/cia_prisoners

    • proreason says:

      Canary, YOU are more likely to be imprisoned than real enemies of our country.

      The new strategy for the “overseas contingency operations” is to be nice to everyone and they will be nice to us.

      And note the word “overseas”. That means there is no thought there might be any “contingency” operations in the US.

      And why should there be? The real enemy has always been white conservatives, who have oppressed everyone else for so long.

      Now that the good guys have won, there really isn’t even a need for prisons anymore.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    Steve….your are DEAD ON when you say, “We must hold the people responsible if we ever suffer another terrorist attack because of their dangerous actions”

    But let me add that it isn’t “if” they ever ……… it should be “when” because as sure as Barney Fwank is a closet member of NAMBLA, we are gonna be hit again.

    This clears a path for the “TERRORIST to whack us with “OUR” governments blessing!!
    Should this happen……..let the GOVERNMENT heads roll!!

    • catie says:

      Liberals, do you think that the MSM and the kool aid drinkers will blame obambi and his clown car of friends? I rather think they’ll all say it’s Bush’s fault because we did such terrible things to these goons that they had to retaliate. I can hear them already. I have a crazy uncle (big union thug in his working days who would vote for Satan if he had a D behind his name) who is already on this drumbeat. I’m sure others are too.

  3. caligirl9 says:

    “Harsh interrogations?”

    So what’s the “new style?” “Please tell us about the terrorist plot you are cooking up with [fill in the name of the splinter group, nation, religion] and I will make sure you get ice cold milk with those cookies!

    Somewhere in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Bin Laden is partying and planning with glee. Not “if”—it’s more like “when.”

    I type this somewhat with trepidation, but does anyone else remember why Charles Manson and his “family” wanted to find that hole in the desert to hide out in, and what he and his followers would come up to, and why Manson and his family would then rule the world? Looks like he may have been right… 40 years later.

    Answer is here, first paragraph: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/manson/mansonaccount.html

    It’s coming to pass.

  4. pdsand says:

    “By contrast, President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. insist that the use of techniques they describe as torture betrayed American values, alienated allies and became a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda”

    I have a hard time believing that’s a very powerful recruiting tool at all.
    ‘If you come fight for us, and make a mistake and get captured, then the U.S. will hold you indefinitely in a place that no one knows about, and torture you until you betray all our secrets. Now who’s in?
    Hey, where’s everybody going!’

    • proreason says:

      pd, good point.

      You know, we hear statements like this over and over and over but nobody in the media ever asks whether they make an iota of sense.

      And after hearing the same thing over and over, many people believe it, no matter how dumb it is.

      On this one, we are expected to believe that if we are peachy nice to terrorists they will lose interest in being killing us, and move onto a career in child-care instead. It’s so beyond looney that it makes you wonder about the sanity of the people who believe it.

    • pdsand says:

      The international branches of the democrat party, like al-qaeda, hamas and the international red cross, might condemn american torture and bush and say they’re the reason they are able to recruit. But in reality, the crazies that they find to carry out the suicide bombings were probably going to find their way to terrorism one way or the other. If it’s not because of torture, or the iraq war, it would be because the yankees won the world series.

  5. Petronius says:

    “Terminating security contracts at the sites would save ‘at least $4 million,’ Mr. Panetta said.”

    Here is yet another instance of Liberalism vs. Reality, and the Liberal inaptitude for governing. The Government does not have the legal right to a no-cost termination of its contracts. Unlike ordinary contracting parties, the Government–as sovereign–does indeed have the right to terminate its own contracts for the convenience of the Government. However, when it exercises this termination authority, the Government is also required to compensate the contractor for his costs incurred, his unavoidable future costs, subcontracts, and other damages. Thus the Government contracting agency, when it exercises its rights under the Termination for Convenience clause, may often incur costs that are almost as great as if the terminated contract had been fully performed. In this particular case, the termination of these CIA contracts is essentially a waste of CIA and taxpayer resources that arises solely as a result of the contradictions inherent in Liberal policy, i.e., because Liberals are ideologically and morally unreconciled to the use of force against enemies of the US.

  6. DANEgerus says:

    [WHEN] we… …suffer another terrorist attack because of their dangerous actions.

  7. AND in related news…

    Germany, and other European Landlords announce they have secured deals with some new tenants who dress in Robes and are adorned with underwear on their heads.

  8. oldswimcoach says:

    So, since the prisons were secret, how do we know they really existed in the first place? How do we know they were really shut down? And, why should we believe anything in public channels on this highly classified topic? Just asking…

    • proreason says:

      Excellent question, coach!

      But there may be a wee bit too much logic behind it to catch the attention of a liberal.


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